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HAPPY CHRISTMAS!


Hi everyone - I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all of my lovely readers a very Happy Christmas, and all the best for the New Year. I will be taking a break from the blog until January, and will come back refreshed and renewed (and hopefully with some great reviews and post ideas!) in 2014! I already have a some good stuff scheduled so keep your eyes peeled.

When it comes to New Year's resolutions I have this one:

Meet my Goodreads Target!

I was only 3 away from it this year, so close! How did you do?!


I hope Santa is good to you all and that you get at least one book under the Christmas tree! ;)
If you are still struggling to get all your Christmas shopping done, why not check out my gift ideas post?

So, until 2014, HAVE A GOOD ONE!

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Angelfall - review

“I never thought about it before, but I'm proud to be human. We're ever so flawed. We're frail, confused, violent, and we struggle with so many issues. But all in all, I'm proud to be a Daughter of Man.”  

Title: Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days)
Author: Susan Ee

Publisher: Hodder
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Buy it:  Here


Synopsis

Angels have waged war on Earth, and humans are in the way. Penryn is 17, and is trying to navigate her disabled sister, Paige, and her mentally ill mother through San Fransisco safely, without attracting the attention of any of the winged men that have torn the city to the ground. When witnessing a bloody battle between opposing Angels, the family is caught in the middle - an Angel's wings are severed, and Paige is stolen by the battle's victor. Penryn's quest to save her is begun - alongside an unlikely partnership between enemies, and an unlikely protector in her mother's delusions.

Review

Starting Angelfall, I wasn't sure whether I would like it. Angels seem like a subject that has a lot of potential to get a bit... preachy! However, I was quickly swept up into the narrative and embraced the books easy-to-understand world building. Angels, in Angelfall, are not the sweet and pious things you may imagine. They are brutal, warring monsters - beautiful and deadly - and humans simply stand in their way. I really liked this unexpected characterisation of "heavenly" beings and it was the first step towards a lot of unexpected delights along the way.

I found Angelfall also dealt with the varying states of human condition in the characters in a believable and sensitive way. Penryn herself is often stubborn and at times tunnel-visioned, due to being thrust into the role of provider for her family, which is fragile both physically and mentally, at such a young age. Her sister, Paige, is without the use of her legs owing to an accident involving her mother, who in turn struggles to show love for her daughters and suffers from hallucinations, outbursts of violence and speaks in tongues. There are not enough words to say how brilliant I found the treatment of these roles. Paige is strong, despite her disability, and their mother is unendingly loyal, if aloof and troubled.

Then, there is the Angel of the book, Raffe. He is humanised by the loss of his wings, and is bitter and impatient at being lowered to that of the "monkeys". Raffe finds him self in a tense cooperative with Penryn, as he trades his knowledge of Angels to help find Paige, and in return she helps him blend into the human world while he searches for a surgeon to reattach his lost feathers. Some of the best dialogues in the book were the quick witted and snide exchanges between Raffe and Penryn, giving way to some evident "frustration" as the story progressed ;) These conversations paced the story brilliantly towards it's action packed, surprising and shocking conclusion.

If I was to give one tiny negative about Angelfall, it would lie with Penryn. At the beginning of the book, I would be pushed to believe she was 17. Her voice felt a lot younger and some of her actions when around Raffe were quite immature. However, once the two of them had reached the centre of San Fransisco her character had changed to reflect her age and experience more, and I never gave a second thought to some of the more jarring passages from earlier in the book!

Overall

An unexpectedly brilliant novel, where nothing is what you would assume. It reminded me in parts of The Reapers are the Angels - but with more of a defined YA lean.

Score 
★★★
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Best Books of 2013

Want to know what my favourite reads have been this year? Look no further than the list below. I have read some amazing (and some not so amazing!) books this year, but these ones are the cream of the crop. What have been your best books of 2013?


1. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker  - REVIEW

Out and out my favourite book of the year! It's the one I've been recommending over and over again to anyone who will listen. It's a little bit sci-fi, it's a little bit deep and philosophical, it's a little bit coming-of-age, it's a little bit sweet and at the same time a little bit deadly! The writing was superb, the characters were adorable and I wouldn't hesitate to drop it onto a desert island book list!
Seriously guys, grab a copy.

2. Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield - REVIEW

This was probably my most highly anticipated book of the year and it did not disappoint. It was so atmospheric and spooky, and a worthy follow-up to Setterfield's debut, The Thirteenth Tale. Not quite an all-out ghost story in the traditional sense, it still had a good haunting and lavish gothic influences. I know a second reading will have me enjoying the book even more!

3. The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke - REVIEW

OK, so I may not have loved the ending of this book (putting it mildly!) but every step of the journey towards it was excellent. I loved the sense of mystery, the modern and often-unexplored setting, the characters... all of it was utterly great.

4. The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough - REVIEW

Just making it into the 2013 list by a hair (as it is released on the 5th of December)! This short story had me remembering just why I love reading so much. Beautiful prose, tense atmosphere, interesting and dark characters, a little bit of the impossible... Perfect :)

5. Allegiant by Veronica Roth - REVIEW

I actually read the entire Divergent series in 2013, but I think Allegiant was the only one released this year. I had highly anticipated the ending to Tris and Four's story and although some readers were left feeling betrayed(!) I absolutely loved the conclusion. I thought it stayed true to the characters, and delivered the endings they had kind of always been destined for.

6. The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan - REVIEW

It took me a little while to get into the swing of this book, but once I did I was rewarded greatly. It is quite a brutal book in many ways, but it was also fragile, honest and beautiful. If you come away with anything other than love for the main character Anais, I would be seriously surprised!

7. The Humans by Matt Haig - REVIEW

This was probably my most unexpected top ten book of the year, as I wasn't much of a fan of Haig's previous book, The Radleys. The Humans, however, is a complete departure from everything I felt towards the previous book. It is unique, touching, philosophical and, maybe just a little bit... genious ;) It's aliens, but it isn't really an alien story.

8 & 9 Angelfall by Susan Ee and The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. (REVIEWS COMING SOON)

Ok, so I haven't actually finished these books yet, but some life stuff has cropped up which means I may not reach the final pages before the end of the year. The fact is, I'm enjoying both of these books SO MUCH, I really feel they need to be on this list! I'm putting my faith in the fact these books have good endings, so I hope they prove me right!

What were your favourite books of the year?!
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Festive freebies!


This winter, I know I will be avidly taking part in two activities familiar to many a book blogger:

1) Trying my darned hardest to complete my 2013 TBR pile

and

2) Trying to drop (not-so) subtle hints of all the books I'd love to receive as gifts!

I just know I won't be the only one...

So, in the honour of festive giving, I have created these free functional bookmark print-ables. Helping you work through your pile of books and ALSO giving you a handy hint sheet to "accidentally" leave around ;)

I hope you like them! Just click the link below the pics to download all three, and print at your leisure :)

Season's Greetings, Guys!




PS. If you like these bookmarks, don't forget I also offer a range of affordable design services!
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